The Prince-Niccoló Machiavelli

Essay by Spicylatin August 2008

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“The Prince” written by the Italian author, Machiavelli, is one the most controversial books in the world. Of all the works of literature that explain ad criticize politics, “The Prince” is considered to be one of the most dangerous books in the world. The reason of such opinion is that “The Prince” clearly describes the rules of cruelty, cleverness, honor, dishonor, and manipulation. The main theme of this book is the political power that a ruler can achieve with advice that enables the gaining of power according to the modern world.

This book was written in 1513, the same year Machiavelli was removed from the honorable post of Chief Secretary. He had served as a diplomatic leader during his rule, and Machiavelli, being a keen observer, probably developed his strong opinion concerning politics during this period. When the Medies became rulers, Machiavelli was imprisoned, but he was soon released.

During that tough time period of his life, he started writing, and wrote a letter with advice about politics to his friend Fransisco which was later compiled into a book: “The Prince”.

The book starts off by vividly discussing Italy’s revolution. Then the book describes and analyzes the rules for the perfect government. According to Machiavelli, a ruler should be brave like a lion, yet clever like a fox. A ruler cannot rely upon anyone except himself, he should be capable of breaking his own promise, and he should be sufficiently cruel. The ruler must be willing to use every possible mean to keep his government stable including suppressing the activities against him by using preferably cruel and inhumane acts.

Machiavelli carefully explains such rules, which are based on facts, but what makes this book dangerous is his point of view on rulers. Although the book is credible, Machiavelli’s advice is difficult to fully be accepted and therefore is considered controversial, and even though this book has been harshly criticized, it still remains as one of the most famous books written in this world.

Reference: Machiavelli, Niccoló. "The Prince" Oxford World's Classics. 1998.